Thursday, June 30, 2011

First Time in Pool, Bathing Suit, Blogging Grannies

Well, today was the first time I jumped into our pool. Unfortunately this was also the first time I had to get into my bathing suit. The swim, or should I say float, was lovely, peaceful, and relaxing. Unfortunately getting into the bathing suit wasn't as pleasurable. It was quite depressing! Next year, I hope to be writing something completely different.

So is anyone on this weight loss adventure right now? Do you have any favorite tips to share? How do you keep your motivation? I need all the help I can get!

Also...I just found this great team on Etsy, it's called Blogging Grannies. It's for the "mature (not old) woman" and it's a brand new team. Looks like it will be fun. The founder is a nice and warm person so it's already off to a good start. If you are interested in checking it out, you can find it HERE. You don't have to be a grandma to join. I am not one, hopefully some day I will be. Hint, hint, kids!

So, on to my motivational tips! Bring them on!!!

Photo Above: My baby Bubba last year chillin on the raft. He likes the raft but isn't too fond of the water.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bubba Won a Giveaway!

Bubba is so excited because he just got two new sweaters for the upcoming Indiana winter! He won a blog giveaway. Doesn't he look super cute in his new duds?

You can find other crocheted items and cute sweaters just like this at Jenya2 Handknit Fashions. Like me, I'm sure you will love her use of color! I wanted to get to know the person behind the fashions so I asked her to send me a little information about herself and this is what I found out:

Last September, 2010, she started knitting little dog sweaters for her local Humane Society and for friends and family for the holidays.  By November she had so many sweaters and such a  humongous stash of yarn that she began formulating a plan to open a shop on Etsy where she had been a buyer for many years.  On Nov 7th Jenya2 was launched.  To her surprise and delight she had a very good holiday season and met many people who she now considers friends.

All her sweaters, including the hand knit necklaces and ladies shrugs, are one of a kind original designs. That is the challenge that keeps her interested and excited to create. 

You can find her Etsy Shop HERE where you will find so many cute things!

For those who don't know Bubba's special story of survival, you can read about it on her blog HERE

Below are a few of her new designs, dog sweater vests, and dog jackets:

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Traveling Weekend

It was another wonderful weekend and I'm so sorry for it to be over. We drove up to Michigan for an out of town wedding, spent time with family, and had a really nice time.

We stayed at a hotel in Muskegon. It was a nice little place but not exactly hopping. I'm hoping that they have some sort of life during the week. None the less, it was cute and a nice place to walk around. We saw lots of neat statutes and sculptures to add to my collection of photos. I'm sure you'll be seeing them on a post some time soon. I loved seeing the Culinary Institute of Michigan (photo above). I wanted so bad to break in and see their kitchens. But I am a law abiding citizen, so I chose not to do so.

On the way home we stopped in Saugatuck. It's always been one of my favorite spots to get out and walk around. It's got tons of little shops and sits on the harbor. And of course I had to stop by my favorite store in the entire world The Butler's Pantry. I was excited! We bought an owl cookie cutter, iced tea spoons, a jar of preserves, and a jar of some spicy mustard dip. So many shops, so little time!

We are back home safe and sound now. We did run to the clinic and rescued Bubba. Poor thing is horse again from crying and barking all weekend. He hates it there, but I know he's safe.

It was a great weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Italian Chicken & Potatoes

This dish is awesome! It's one of my very favorites and I just realized that I haven't made it in a long time. So I'm definitely putting the ingredients on my grocery list. It's a perfect summer dish because it's made in the crock pot so it doesn't heat up the kitchen.

Italian Chicken & Potatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Fat Free Italian salad dressing
2 to 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or mix basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder to equal same)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
4 to 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1 cup low fat mozzarella

Brown Chicken on both sides.  Place chicken in bottom of Crock Pot. Sprinkle with half of the Italian dressing, spices, and the grated cheese. Put the potatoes on top or around the chicken. Sprinkle with the rest of the dressing, spices, and cheese.

Cook on low for about 6-8 hours, or until the chicken and potatoes are tender.  Sprinkle with mozzarella the last 15 minutes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mystery Solved & Pretty Flowers

I have conducted an investigation and I believe that I have solved the mystery of the giant head (yesterday's post)! Ok, so I googled it. But what I found was a quite simple explination. Apparantly a company called Moran Iron Works out of Onaway, Michigan built it. The impression I am getting is that it started out as a float for a 4th of July parade. Now it likes to sit along the highway and watch traffic. Mystery Solved!

Here are a couple of links about it:

Since I already showed you the photo, I decided to make today's photo a picture I took yesterday of some beautiful flowers in my garden.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Giant Head

My husband and I often take trips up to Michigan. We have family up there and we like to hike the trails in many of the parks. We also like to go to St. Joe on Sundays. We stop at Panera Bread for their incredibly awesome breakfast sandwiches. YUM! After that we head to the downtown area and walk along the beach, to the lighthouse, and the beautiful streets.

Anyway (I'm getting off subject here) we were driving home from his family's cottage which is on Lake Huron and we passed a giant head in the middle of a grassy field. What the heck? We stopped the car immediately because you can't pass a giant head in the middle of nowhere and NOT get out your camera! This thing was at least twice my height. I have no idea why it was there but it was.

So...have you ever taken a trip and seen something that was so odd that you had to stop and take a pic?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Diet Tip #1

Diet tip #1 - Get the chocolate out of the house! Back in the days when losing weight was easier I was able to keep a secret stash of my favorite chocolates on hand. I would be so disciplined! I would have no more than 2 or 3 in a day. Well, something has happened along the way and it's a bit more difficult. I still have my 2 or 3 a day, but then I go for one more, then one more, then one more, then what the heck, I've already blown it right?

So I have decided that I must keep the evil out of the house because I am weak, I am a wimp, I will cave for that creamy, chocolaty goodness. I'll save my chocolate splurges for special occasions.

Do you think my photo frame is a bit extreme?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Fun Quick Page Freebie

First off...Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

I was in the creative mood and created a quick page. I figured I'd share it with you! All you have to do is import it into your photo program and put your photo behind. I left space on the "sand" so you even have room to add your own text if you wish.

The photo in my page is of our cousin's dog Rusty.

You can download yours HERE.

I used my Thoughts of Summer kit to create this page which can be found at my Etsy Store.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Brenda Photo Challenge - Playing

Oh no! I'm so late on this but thanks Donna for reminding me about the BRENDA PHOTO CHALLENGE. Geez! I even marked my calendar so I wouldn't forget to post this.

Well, better late than never. I really don't have a lot of playing pictures since my kids are grown and out of the house but I did dig through my files to find this one of my kids when they were younger. This has always been one of my favorites. I love the way big sis sneaks in behind little brother for her shot. This picture was taken with one of the first digital cameras I ever owned, a 1 mega pixel. So there isn't a whole lot I can do with it in my scrap booking. It's too small. But I love it!

One Very Loud Frog

When you live out in the country you will notice how loud the night is. I think it would be quieter if I lived next to a highway! I sit out on my deck (until the mosquitoes make me go in) and I listen to all the critters communicating to one another. Why they pick night time, I don't know. Every night when I take Bubba out I hear a frog. I could never find him but I can hear him. He's so loud! Last week I see something bright green at the side of the pool and I go to investigate and it's him! It's my little frog who is VERY loud! The picture isn't very clear because I had to zoom in, didn't want to scare him. It was nice to finally see this little guy. He's so green!

Mornings however are the same here as they are anywhere else. If you wake up with your windows open you will hear the birds chirping away. It's a lovely sound as well. I do miss that in the winter though.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Owl Napkin Rings Tutorial / Project

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Did you know that napkin rings have been around for many years but it wasn’t until just recently that they are used as decorative items? Back before we had disposable napkins and paper towels, people used cloth napkins. Each family member had their own napkin and it would be washed on laundry day. In order to keep from getting their napkin mixed up with someone else’s, they slipped it through their own napkin ring. Many of these rings were made of silver and had the family member’s initials on them.

When I was shopping I came across these adorable owl beads and the first thing I thought of was napkin rings. I’ll be making more things out of them because I have plenty left over. I bought all they had because they were so darn cute! So if you live in Michigan City, Indiana and you want to make the owls, they are out of them. Sorry!

Here’s what you will need:

1 cute center bead for each ring
    -I chose these cute owls from Hobby Lobby
Various beads of your choice
    -I chose two different ones
Beading thread
     -I like the 100% nylon
     -I like the “Big EYE Needle” (it’s flexible)
1 big ugly bead (will explain later)
Layout board (optional, a towel will work well)
Glue (optional)

1.  The first thing I do is lay out my design on the board in the order I want my beads. I chose to have my owl in the center. My bead string measured 6”. I thought that was perfect size for the rings. I made 8 napkin rings so I counted my beads to make sure I had enough of each.

2.  Cut off about 15” of thread. It’s more than you will need but it’s better than having to work with very short ends to tie off.  Thread the needle and put it through the big ugly bead then tie the thread around the bead as shown leaving about 5 inches for a tail. Do not double tie because you want to be able to slip the bead off when you are finished stringing. This bead is only to keep your other beads from slipping off as you bead.

3.  Starting at the bottom of your beads, begin threading your beads onto your string.  Once you have all your beads on the string you can carefully remove the big ugly bead. Tie your two ends together and secure with a nice tight knot.

4.  With your needle still attached, run it back through about ¾” of beads, snip close to beads. Thread the other “tail” and repeat this part going in the other direction. You may secure your know with a dab of glue if desired.

5.  How simple are these? Now you can plan your menu for your next dinner and use these cute rings. Your guests will love them!

If you've never seen my blog before, you can scroll down to the bottom and see a video of our rehab owl Howard.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oriental Coleslaw

This is a delicious coleslaw recipe that is one of my most requested items to bring to summer parties. I was just asked to bring it to one this weekend. It's yummy!

1 lg. head cabbage
1 bunch green onions
1 c. thinly sliced celery
1 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1 pkg. oriental noodles chicken flavor (Top Ramen, etc.)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
Black pepper, as desired

Chop cabbage as for slaw, add chopped onions, celery, sunflower seeds, almonds and noodles. Noodles are to be broken up uncooked in the salad.
Put oil, vinegar, and sugar in blender. Add chicken flavor season packet and black pepper (optional, as much as you like). Blend well. Pour over salad, toss together. Chill. Best when made 2 to 3 hours ahead of serving.

Before & After Simple Project

When we remodeled the kitchen there was one small space that we never quite finished because we didn't know what we wanted to do. We actually bought a couple different trims to put there but nothing looked quite right. So for a year we left it as the ugly eyesore that it was. Well, that was until our trip to Florida and I saw how my Dad made a cute little bulletin board out of the side of his cabinets. So yes, I stole his idea.

His though is different. He cut a piece of cork board down to fit perfectly, then trimmed it out with a nice trim. We were going to do the same thing but Brian found an entire framed cork board that had the perfect dimensions and it had a black trim which is the perfect color to match our kitchen. He had to cut a strip of wood and attach it so that it would lay flat. He attached it and we now have a cute place to stick photos, coupons, recipes, whatever.

The only thing my board is missing are the cute little tacks my step mom uses for hers. Think I'll stop on the way home from work and pick some up. Or...maybe I'll pick up some plain push pins and raid my button jar!

For those of you who haven't met Howard yet, scroll down to the bottom of my blog and watch his little video.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Letterpress Printing

My Dad owned a printing business for many years. My sister bought it in 2001 and I ran the business with her for about 6 years. We had your current presses but we always had the old fashioned letterpress in the shop. This is the press that they used many years ago. The idea was for the plates to close together on each other to make the impression on the paper. A large inked roller would come down and ink the blocks of wood that would press against the paper. Back then you would put the wooden blocks of letters into a steel frame one at a time, working backward. Imagine how much time it would take to set up the type for one page.

We still used that press for numbering. We would put the paper in one sheet at a time, let it make the impression, then remove it. You had to be at peak performance when using the letterpress because if you didn't get your hands out fast enough, it would crush them! There is no stopping steel to steel once in motion. Our letterpress had an electric motor but back in the day, they actually had a foot petal.

I really miss the days of working side by side with my sister but life has taken us into different directions. We had the BEST times during those 6 years. I never felt like I was going to work when I woke up in the mornings.

Photo Above: The letterpress that we had in the shop. We traced it back to around the turn of the century (circa 1890).

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Fun & Productive Weekend

This was one of those weekends that I really enjoy. Got to do some blogging, slept in today (which I rarely do), made some cute napkin rings (you'll see a tutorial really soon), and went hiking. I also managed to stay on my healthy eating and exercise plan.

We had originally planned on hiking the dunes today but we decided to try a new hiking trail that we've never been to. We have lots of them around here and up in Michigan. We'll even drive a couple hours for a good trail. This new one was nice. It's called Bendix Woods County Park. Had lots of trails. Not a very big area but the trails wound around, connected here and there, and there were lots of hills and inclines. So we got a nice little workout. There weren't a whole lot of photo ops though. The brochure said that this park has the best show of wildflowers in Northern Indiana but unfortunately we were about 3 weeks late.

We did see some really cool trees like you see in the photo above. The texture of the tree was so unusual. Very interesting. As we were leaving we saw deer. They were not afraid of us at all. Must be used to people. Kinda like the ones that hang out in our backyard regularly.

Back to work tomorrow. I hope you all had a nice weekend too.

Note to self: The drive to hiking trails is probably not the best time to drink a big glass of iced tea.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Getting Creative with those Close-up Shots

I love to zoom in or use my macro. Some of my favorite photos are those up close shots. People and landscapes are cool, but you can get so creative with the close-ups.

Notice how the water makes a perfect background for my dunes pictures? The water really shows off the photos well.

If I didn't tell you, would you know that the background of this scrap page is a deliciously cooked turkey?

Now, one of my personal favorite things to do with those zoomed images is play with my text. Make sure you rasterize the text first before combining with the photos.

So there you have it. As you can see, I love my photography and I love my PhotoShop!

Heading off to hike the dunes with hubby!!! One of our favorite things to do. I'll be visiting you all later. It's a beautiful, sunny day here on Lake Michigan! Finally!!!!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

If You Lose Your Camera

If you are anything like me, losing your camera would be devastating! How will you get it back? Well, if an HONEST person finds it, you will get it back, and I'm going to show you how.

Above is an image that you can create. Simply open the image in your picture viewer, take a picture of your computer screen and don't delete it from your camera when you download the photos. If your camera is lost and an honest person finds it, the first thing they will do is look at your pictures to see if they can get a clue to your identity. How easy is this?

If your camera is stolen, this will not help you. I like to think that most people will want to return the camera to you.

So, you can make a cute graphic if you want (OK, I'm a geek so I made a cute one) or if you don't have a graphic program, or don't know your way around one, just type up the information in your word document. Make your text nice and large to fill up the page and take a picture of that page. Not familiar with word documents? Take a large piece of paper and write your info on it with a felt marker and take a picture of that.

So, if you lose your camera and an honest person finds it, you will have a better chance of getting it back!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blogging: Why? How? What?

Today I'm blogging about blogging. I love blogging! I love visiting and commenting on other blogs, and I love when I go to my email and see nice comments from people who take the time out out to read my posts and comment. Does everyone else feel the same way as I do?

I feel like a real author when sit at my computer and type. It's like my own little magazine or publication and I can write about anything I want. It's my own little corner of the world where I can let people in, and share a little about my life, my hobbies, thoughts, etc. But at the same time, I want to make a blog that people want to come back and visit again and again.

I really love to visit blogs. It's fun to see the day to day lives of people. I especially love to see the craft projects, recipes, photography, diet tips, household tips, people's pets, the wildlife pics or pics of or your latest vacation.

So why do you blog? What kind of things do like to see or not see when you visit a blog?

Photo Above: I empty a basket to organize my next craft projects and Miss Pumpkin has to get in the center of things, literally.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A 100 Follower Celebration! Planner Freebie!

I came home from work today to discover that I had reached the 100 follower point! I think it's time for a celebration! I think it's time for a freebie! I've never done this before but plan to do it more often because it's FUN! I know that not everyone does digital scrap booking so even though I plan to have freebies for my scrapping buddies, I also need to think of my non scrapping buddies so my first freebie is something everyone can use.

This is a weekly planner. All you have to do is download it, open it up in your Adobe Acrobat Reader and print it out as many times as you like. You can put holes in it and use it in a binder, you can stick it on your fridge, a filing cabinet, or stick it to a bulletin board.  I find these really handy during the holidays and those party planning times. It will print out in a high quality, 300 DPI, PDF format on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper.

I have lots of other styles available, including grocery lists at my Etsy Shop if you want to see more.

You can find your free planner Link Expired.

PS....This is the first time I've used 4 shared so if you have any problems let me know. Fingers are crossed!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Pelham Puppet

Do you have any favorite toys that you have hung onto for one reason or another? I only have one. It's a Pelham Puppet, a black cat marionette. This particular puppet was made in the 1960's and the price tag is still on the box. It cost $5.00 from Marshall Field's. It was always one of my favorite toys. I guess I always thought that I would give it to my kids to play with someday but it remained packed away and I would come across it once in a blue moon.

I remember when I first got that puppet. I wanted a marionette so bad! I remember taking pieces of wood, fabric, and string to make some. They still weren't the same. That Christmas there it was, under the tree. I played with that thing for hours.

I pulled it out of the box on Memorial Day just to take a look and it is still in perfect condition.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Snackwell's 130 Calorie Packs

I thought I'd end the week with another post about one of my favorites. I just discovered these Snackwell's 130 calorie packs. They are delicious! This is the only one I've tried so far but I will definitely try the other snacks they make. The caramel corn is delicious and they are drizzled with chocolate and they are super chocolatey (is that a word?).

They are perfect to throw in your purse. Just yummy!!!

PS...Spellcheck just said chocolatey is not a word, but I'm leaving it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I've Been Inspired Again!

On my way home from work today I decided to stop by Hobby Lobby. I walked around and inspiration and ideas were everywhere! I bought some felt, paint, and owl beads. I LOVE these beads! I have some great ideas of what I'm going to do with them. Stay tuned to Sher's Creative Space because there are some tutorials in the works using the items I bought. And by the way...they will not be used together.

I made some really cute wine glass charms last night but the tutorial is put away in a folder for now. I'm going to be a guest host on another blog in September and I'll be giving the tutorial on them. I'll let you know when and where when the times come.

The last day of Hobby Lobby's sale is tomorrow so I'm going to buy the last two strings of owl beads tomorrow. I hope they are still there.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cats on Counters!

I was telling someone today how I have the perfect cat, that very rare perfect cat. Pumpkin, a strictly indoor cat, has never gone potty outside the litter box, never jumps onto things she's not supposed to, and actually listens to my commands! I say, "Pumpkin, get back here" and here she comes. She's mellow. sweet, affectionate, and so darn cute. She's 11 years old and has always been the perfect cat. Her favorite spots to chill are in the sink of the guest bathroom or any soft bed or in front of an open window.

Her and her brother (Bubba, yorkie) get treats twice a day and she always knows when that will happen so she will usually jump on the dining room table and wait for it. We rarely use the table for eating. After her treat she jumps right down. Well, today I walk into the kitchen and there she is! All relaxed and laying on the kitchen counter! Dad would not like that! So we won't tell him and hope he doesn't read this post.

So what is your opinion about cats on kitchen counter tops? Do you let them up there or do you shoo them off?
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